On May 22, 2020, Nigerian rapper, Martyn Chika released ‘Strange Things Happen,’ his second EP in just five months. ‘Paper Planes,’ Martyn’s first EP of the year was a diary of raw bars and stories over well-produced beats. ‘Strange Things Happen’ is another well-produced project that documents the weird lines between success, life, dreams and struggle.
Paper Planes might have been the introduction for many people to the talents of Martyn Chika, but many - including this writer - felt a familiar strain in his technique, style, flow scheme and delivery. Even his punchline and jabs reflects this strain and that strain belongs to Drake.
Like Drake, Martyn Chika controls the narrative of his own music and lets the listener know only what he wants the listener to know. But unlike Drake, Martyn Chika is not a master-purveyor of zingy aphorisms. He’s also not as experimental as Drake - for better or worse.
Strange Things Happen is not a horror show of haunting memories as the title suggests. Instead, it’s piqued on a track from this seven-track EP.
Strange Things Happen could be said to be inspired by a cocky spirit of Martyn Chika positioning himself as the ‘strange thing’ that is ‘happening.’ Most of the stories told on this EP are told from the first person. ‘Yellow Brick Road’ opens up this EP to a beautiful beat that seeks to engulf your being in its intensity.
On it, Martyn Chika raps delivers a rap solo about dreams set in lights, engages braggadocio, his devotion to this game that makes him avoid vanity and tales of a failed relationship. Bars like, “O Negative flow, anybody can get it” or “...And I'm always twice a G like supermodel Hadid…” are just amazing with the flow.
‘More’ is a trap tune that sees Martyn Chika toast to his desire for positive things in life. ‘Passport’ sees De’Dayo The Sage and Martyn Chika declare that the music is their ticket towards achieving their dreams on a synth-pop song. ‘Yesterday I Wrote A Song’ feels cut from an emotional place.
Martyn Chika abandons his confident side for some vulnerability as he dreams aloud. Laolu Bobson, take a bow for this hook. ‘Say Yes (Interlude)' brings us back to the familiar Martyn Chika - confidence, bordering on cocky. But instead of bland braggadocio, he’s more methodical. Instead of just bragging, Martyn Chika as he describes his inspiration - need to grow and have a family.
The title-track comes on to horns and a revving car on ballad-rap in the throes of luxury rap. Martyn Chika coasts with the dreams and diverse topics of a story that’s leading to success. ‘This Little Light of Mine’ melodious boom bap sees Martyn Chika get inspirational.
“Even with one eye open, I can still see BS (read as CBS) from a mile away,” is another beautiful bar.
Strange Things Happen is yet another impressive showcase of Martyn Chika’s talent, but it also feels one-dimensional with the brand of music it presents. While the music feels amazing as it is, one can't escape the feeling that Martyn Chika could do more with sonic and stylistic experimentation.
This style will earn Martyn Chika a lot of fans, but when the time is right, he needs to experiment with sounds.Maybe that won’t happen anytime soon, but the possibility is there. When he's dropping bars, Martyn Chika seems a perpetual version of who Drake becomes when he wants to be a beastly rapper and that’s good, but a listener also needs an experience.
While Martyn excels like your favourite rappers with the bars, puns and entrendre, he finds it hard to stay on a theme. If Martyn can find central themes and focus on them, it could also help the music. In the end, Strange Things Happen is another solid project with even greater replay value than Paper Planes which many thought had great replay value.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Content and Themes: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
7.5 - Victory